Motherhood - Pregnancy

Do You Need a Doula?

What is a doula?

A doula is essentially a birth coach. Doula’s do not have formal medical training and cannot perform any medical interventions or tasks. A doula assists laboring women with various comfort measures throughout their entire labor. These comfort measures may include aromatherapy, showering, acupressure, massage, breathing techniques, walking and more.

Many doulas are hired by women who desire an unmedicated birth although they also assist women who have medicated births as well.

Doula’s can also be an advocate for you during your laboring whilst in the hospital. There may be times when nurses ask you about a medical intervention to progress labor, and your doula will be able to advocate for you according to your birth plan, if you so desire.

Should I hire a Doula?

When considering if you should hire a doula, you should think about how you imagine your labor and delivery to proceed. Do you wish to have little medical intervention or medication? Do you want to be mobile as you labor? What kind of atmosphere do you want to delivery (calm voices, music, aromatherapy, etc).

Depending on when you hire a doula, they will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding pregnancy and labor. There may be times when they refer you to your practitioner if they are unable to offer specific guidance or if there is a medical emergency.

If this is your first pregnancy, a doula may be a great addition to your labor team. You may have nerves or anxiety or many, many questions regarding pregnancy and labor and delivery. A doula will be able to serve as your advocate and coach through the entire process.

Additionally, if you desire an unmedicated birth, doulas have been shown to effectively decrease the use of medication through labor and delivery. Doula’s have also been shown to increase the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth and shorten labor by 40 minutes (Evidence Based Birth).

Does Insurance Cover a Doula?

Some employers and insurance providers cover doula services, however most do not. Be sure to check with your insurance to see what is covered. Some insurance may require your doula to have specific training or certifications. If a doula service is not covered, you may consider utilizing your FSA or HSA to cover the cost. But, again, be sure to check if this service can be paid through either your FSA or HSA as you may need to get a note from your doctor for the service to be authorized.

In Summary

  • Doula’s are essentially birth coaches
  • If this is your first pregnancy or you desire an unmedicated birth, you may want to consider hiring a doula
  • Doula’s a proven to have improved birthing outcomes
  • Check with your insurance provider or employer if Doula’s are covered under insurance

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